What the numbers are saying about the lives of teens today.

Free to Be is committed to providing current, medically accurate information to our teens and parents. Contrary to what many think, the majority of teens are not having sex. Still, there is much reason to be concerned. Get informed by some of the latest stats below.

Local Statistics

  • The estimated new cases of 8 main STDs among 15-24 year olds in Sonoma County in 2005 was 5,619 out of the total population of 69,483.
    (1 in 12.5) The total medical cost was $11 million).
    • Public Health Institute. “Estimated Number of New Cases and Total Direct Medical Cost of Eight Main STDs Among 15-24 Year Olds, California Counties, 2005.” The Hidden STD Epidemic Among California Youth. October 2007.

  • Each year, there are approximately 400 births to Sonoma County teens ages 15-19, about 7% of total births in the county.
    • Sonoma County Department of Health Services, Teen births in Sonoma County, May, 2011.

Media & Technology

  • Most teens ages 12-19, (58% of boys and 66% of girls) believe that teen boys often receive the message that they are expected to have sex.
    • 1. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. “With One Voice 2007: America’s Adults and Teens Sound Off About Teen Pregnancy.” A Periodic National Survey. February 2007.

  • 20% of teens (ages 13-19) overall have sent/posted nude or semi-nude pictures or video of themselves.(5) (22% of teen girls and 18% of teen boys)
    • 5. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy “Sex and Tech; Results from a Survey of Teens and Young Adults.” Cosmogirl.com, 2009.

  • 39% of teens (ages 13-19) have sent or posted sexually suggestive messages.
    • Ibid.

Risk Avoidance

  • 75% of teens do not think it is embarrassing for teens to admit they are virgins
    • The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. “With One Voice 2007: America’s Adults and Teens Sound Off About Teen Pregnancy.” A Periodic National Survey. February 2007.

  • 53% of boys and 58% of girls (age 15-17) have never had oral, anal, or vaginal sex
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Sexual Behavior, Sexual Attraction, and Sexual Identity in the United States: Data From the 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth.” National Health Statistics Reports. March 3, 2011..

Risk Behavior & STDs


  • Oral sex is a potential transmission route for pathogens, including STDs such as herpes, hepatitis, gonorrhea, Chlamydia, syphilis, and HIV
    • Halpern-Felsher, Bonnie L. et al. “Oral Versus Vaginal Sex Among Adolescents: Perceptions, Attitudes, and Behavior.” Pediatrics. Vol. 115, No. 4, April 2005

  • Most teens (65% of girls and 57% of boys) who have had sex say they wish they had waited
    • Albert, B., The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. “With One Voice 2010: America’s Adults and Teens Sound Off About Teen Pregnancy.” A Periodic National Survey. December 2010

  • 61% of teens 12-18 reported that their first sexual relationship lasted less than four months
    • Ryan, Suzanne. “The First Time: Characteristics of Teens’ First Sexual Relationships.” Child Trends Research Brief. 2003.

1 in 4(26%) of female adolescents between the ages of 14 and 19  has at least one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases.

CDC. “Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance, 2006.” 2007.


It is estimated that there are 18.9 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States each year. Of these, 9.1 million (48%) are among young people aged 15-24. This is about 25,000 new cases each day. 
Weinstock, Hillard et al. “Sexually Transmitted Diseases Among American Youth: Incidence and Prevalence Estimates, 2000.” Perspectives on Sexual Reproductive Health. 2004
Although teens and young adults (15-24 year olds) represent only 25% of the sexually active population, they account for nearly half of all sexually transmitted diseases diagnoses each year.
Alan Guttmacher Institute. “Facts on Sexually Transmitted Infections in the United States.” In Brief. August 2006

75% of women and 50% of men with Chlamydia have no symptoms. Up to 40% of women with untreated Chlamydia will develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and 1 in 5 women with PID become infertile.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “Trends in STDs in the United States.” Tracking the Hidden Epidemics 2000. August 2, 2005

Teen Pregnancy

1 in 14 girls 15-19 become pregnant each year.
Kost, K., Henshaw, S., & Carlin, L. “U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions: National and State Trends and Trends by Race and Ethnicity.” January 2010

Only 40% of teen mothers graduate from high school, and less than 2% have a college degree by age 30.
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, The Public Costs of Teen Childbearing, 2004

Of the more than 400,000 births to females 15-19 in 2004, 20% were to teens who had already given birth at least once.
Child Trends Research Brief, Repeat Teen Childbearing: Differences Across States by Race and Ethnicity, 2007

Teen Males

2 out of 3 (66%) of young men (ages 15-22) agree they could be happy in a relationship that doesn’t include sex.
Child Trends Research Brief, Repeat Teen Childbearing: Differences Across States by Race and Ethnicity, 2007

More than three-quarters (78%) of young men (ages 15-22) agree that there is “way too much pressure” from society to have sex.

74% of guys ages 15-22 say that sex wouldn’t make them stay in a relationship they didn’t want to be in.


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